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Reincarnation to rectify childlessness

Between Yibum and Gilgul

Between Yibum and Gilgul

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Three, Section 6

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Between Yibum and Gilgul
Reincarnation to rectify childlessness

Yibum is not like gilgul because it is for a different reason. When it comes to the rest of the sins of the Torah, rectification can be achieved through suffering in this world and after death in Gehinom (Purgatory). Thus, not all sparks of the Nefesh need to reincarnate, but they may come back only as an ibur of the type mentioned in the previous section. Only specific sparks actually reincarnate.

Rectification can be achieved through suffering, or through the performance of mitzvot. The Rav is concentrating on rectification through suffering, it seems, because of what he wants to say here about yibum.

We also learned in the last section that completely rectified sparks do not need to reincarnate, and those that are mostly rectified, but not completely, will reincarnate as an ibur from birth. Only specific sparks that are badly damaged, or have not yet undergone any tikun through gilgul, will reincarnate to become the main soul of the body. The entire nefesh that was in the first body must return again for its own sake

However, yibum occurs because the person died before having children, a lack of success that makes it as if he never came into the world, as if his first body did not exist at all, as it says in the Zohar (Vayashev 187a).

The man left this world without leaving behind any progeny, and therefore it is as if he never existed.

Therefore, the entire Nefesh that was in the first body must return again for its own sake.

This is the main point here. Rectification through suffering did not happen in the first body, and no parts of the soul were released from the cycle of gilgul.

In the end, it is the second body that becomes his main one. After rectification and death in this world the Nefesh will resurrect only in this second body. There will be no soul to enter the first body, other than the "Ruach [spirit] that he put into his wife", as it says in Sabba of [Zohar] Mishpatim.

When a man first procreates with his wife, a part of his soul goes into the woman and remains there in her womb. This is the spirit that the husband has left within his wife. It is only this minimal spirit that is available to resurrect the body. (See Chapter 36.)

This is the difference between someone who has died without leaving children and must return in the secret of Yibum, and one who dies with sins and must reincarnate.

All the details we have explained regarding the sparks of the Nefesh apply as well to Ruach and Neshama.

[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzchak, the
G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Elohi [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Yitzchok bar Chaim is the pseudonym of the translator, an American-born Jerusalem scholar who has studied and taught Kabbala for many years. He may be contacted through: He translated the Ari's work, "Shaar HaGilgulim;" his translation into English (but with much less extensive commentary than offered here). Information about his translation in book form may be obtained through
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He was a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.
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